MLB News and Notes April 23

MLB News and Notes April 23

Padres place RHP Young and C Bard on DL

SAN DIEGO (AP) -The San Diego Padres placed right-handed pitcher Chris Young and catcher Josh Bard on the 15-day disabled list Thursday.

Young and Bard were knocked out of Wednesday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals by Albert Pujols in the same inning.

Young's nose was broken when Pujols hit a line drive off his face in the third inning. Bard sustained a high left ankle sprain two batters later when Pujols scored from second base on a base hit to right field. Pujols slid into Bard's ankle as the catcher stuck his leg out to block the plate as he was catching the relay throw up the first-base line.

Neither player was in the Padres' clubhouse before Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

``(Young) was feeling a little bit of discomfort and had a pretty strong headache,'' said San Diego manager Buddy Black, who spoke by telephone with Young. ``Not feeling great, but overall his spirits were OK.''

Black said the time table for Young's return is uncertain, but said that the club will have a better idea within the next two days.

Bard's high ankle sprain is expected to keep him out of the lineup for four to six weeks, Black said.

The Padres also designated right-handed pitcher Justin Germano, a former starting pitcher, for assignment. In addition, San Diego optioned left-handed pitcher Joe Thatcher to Triple-A Portland.

The Padres recalled right-handed pitchers Josh Banks and Jared Wells, and purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Mike Adams, all from Portland. Catcher Cole Morton was recalled from Double-A San Antonio.

Young is 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 starts. Bard is hitting .200 with seven RBI

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Mets place Alou on DL with calf injury

ATLANTA (AP) -Moises Alou is back on the disabled list.

The Mets placed the veteran outfielder on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf Thursday.

Alou left Wednesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves with the calf injury, and had an MRI exam Thursday in New York. Alou, hitting .340, has played in only 14 games after recovering from hernia surgery.

The Mets selected the contract of catcher-first baseman Raul Casanova from Triple-A New Orleans.

Casanova, who hit .283 with one homer in 46 at_bats with the Mets earlier this season, joined the team for Thursday night's game against the Braves.

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Everett injury the latest blow to unstable Twins infield
ASSOCIATED PRESS

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Another problem for Minnesota's unstable middle infield has popped up.

Shortstop Adam Everett was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained right shoulder. His pain is in a different place than the previous shoulder injury that sent him to the DL last month.

''I don't know how to explain it, other than it does feel like a knife,'' Everett said. ''I don't know how to describe how it happened. It just happened. ... I'm at a loss for words. Very, very disappointing.''

The Twins announced infielder Matt Macri will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Friday, but Gardenhire spoke less than confidently before Thursday's game about the majors-ready options in the farm system. Asked about the possibility of pursuing help from outside the organization in a trade, Gardenhire deferred to the front office.

Brendan Harris, the original second baseman, has been playing more at shortstop, his natural position, with Alexi Casilla taking over at second.

Nick Punto (hamstring) and Matt Tolbert (thumb) are already on the DL, leaving the Twins awfully short in the infield. Punto could be back in a week, but Tolbert will likely miss two months or more.

''We don't have much choices here so these young men have got to get after it,'' Gardenhire said.

The manager sounded as though he missed Jason Bartlett, the late-blooming shortstop who finally became comfortable at the position last season. Bartlett was traded to Tampa Bay in the six-player deal that brought Brendan Harris and Delmon Young in November.

''I did not want him to be in it, but they were pretty insistent,'' Gardenhire said.

Everett was signed as a light-hitting but defensively sound replacement. His bum shoulder, however, has prevented him from even contributing much in the field.

''He wants to be out there so bad,'' Gardenhire said.

The Twins were willing to sacrifice some defense to upgrade the offense in the infield by signing Mike Lamb to be the third baseman and putting Harris at second. But so far, both areas have been worse. Lamb is one of three regulars yet to homer and is batting .222.

For now, Harris and Casilla will be the double-play combination. In Thursday's game against Texas, they turned four of them and looked relatively comfortable doing it.

''He's working and I'm working, too,'' Casilla said.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

St.  Louis (28-21) at L.A. Dodgers (25-21)


Fresh off a three-game home sweep of the Reds, the Dodgers welcome Albert Pujols and the Cardinals to Los Angeles for a three-game series. Struggling right-hander Derek Lowe (2-4, 5.34 ERA) is set to toe the rubber for L.A. against Adam Wainwright (3-2, 3.25).

The Dodgers pounded Cincinnati by a combined score of 15-8 en route to the three-game sweep, and they’re now 6-2 in their last eight games following a five-game losing skid. L.A., which was idle yesterday, is on rolls of 11-5 at Dodger Stadium, 5-0 against the N.L. Central and 10-4 as a chalk.

St. Louis enters this contest after taking two of three in San Diego, including an 11-3 rout on Wednesday. The Cardinals have followed up a 2-8 slump by winning four of their last five. Also, Tony LaRussa’s club is on streaks of 12-4 against winning teams and 6-1 after an off day, but is just 9-19 in its last 28 on Friday, 3-6 in its last nine on the road and 8-20 in its last 28 as a road pup.

St. Louis has owned the Dodgers in recent years, going 37-18 in the last 55 meetings, including 6-2 in their last eight visits to Dodger Stadium. Last year, the team’s split their six contests, with each taking two of three at home.

Lowe is coming off his worst outing of the season, as he yielded seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits in Sunday’s 10-2 interleague loss to the Angeles. Over his last four starts, Lowe is 0-3 with a 9.28 ERA, giving up 22 runs in 21 1/3 innings. That includes a 7-1 home loss to Houston on May 9 when the right-hander got touched up for six runs in 5 1/3 innings, dropping to 2-1 with a 3.70 ERA in four outings this year at Dodger Stadium.

Lowe is 1-4 with a 5.93 ERA in five regular-season starts against the Cardinals, giving up between four and six runs in each of those five contests. Last year, Lowe faced St. Louis twice, winning 9-7 at home (four runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings) and losing 6-1 on the road (five runs allowed, three earned, in six innings).

In his first seven trips to the mound this year, Wainwright recorded six quality starts (at least six innings pitched and three earned runs or less allowed). However, in two outings since then, the young right-hander has gotten rocked for 12 runs (10 earned) on 12 hits in 11 2/3 innings. He lost 8-3 at Milwaukee on May 12, then got a no-decision in the Cardinals’ 9-8, 10-inning come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Cardinals are 6-3 in Wainwright’s nine starts this season, but only 1-3 on the road, where the hurler has a 4.00 ERA. Also, Wainwright’s only two career starts against L.A. came last year, and he went 0-2. He gave up eight runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings of a 9-7 road loss, then surrendered two runs on six hits in a complete-game 2-1 home defeat.

The over was 4-2 in last year’s six head-to-head battles, including 3-0 in Los Angeles. The over is also 9-3 in the Dodgers’ last 12 on Fridays, 11-5 in their last 16 against winning teams and 9-4 in the Cards’ last 13 against the N.L. West.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Boston (31-19) at Oakland (25-23)


The streaking Red Sox take a seven-game winning streak to the West Coast to begin a weekend series with the A’s, with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (3-2, 4.33) set to oppose Oakland’s Rich Harden (2-0, 2.91).

Boston completed a perfect seven-game homestand with Thursday’s 11-8 victory over Kansas City. The Red Sox have averaged exactly seven runs per game during the winning streak, tallying five or more in six of the contests. However, Terry Francona’s squad, which kicks off a 10-game road trip tonight, is only 10-14 away from Beantown in 2008, including a current four-game slide on the highway.

The A’s took Thursday off after pounding the Rays 9-1 on Wednesday, halting a three-game losing skid. Despite Thursday’s win, Oakland is only 3-9 in its last 12. Also, the A’s are 2-9 in their last 11 following an off day, but they’re 7-2 in their last nine against the A.L. East, 37-15 in Harden’s last 52 starts overall and 39-14 in Harden’s last 53 as a chalk.

These teams opened the 2008 season against each other in Tokyo, splitting a pair of games. A week later, they resumed their series in Oakland, with Boston winning both contests by scores of 2-1 and 5-0. Going back to last year, the Red Sox are on a 6-1 roll against the A’s.

Wakefield lasted just 5 1/3 innings against the Brewers on Saturday, giving up three runs on six hits, getting a no-decision in Boston’s 7-6 victory. The veteran right-hander has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his nine starts, however he’s just 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA in five road games.

Wakefield is 9-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 35 appearances (24 starts) against the A’s. Going back to 2003, he’s faced Oakland five times, giving up three earned runs or fewer and pitching at least six innings in all five, but Boston is just 3-2 in those contests (0-2 in Oakland).

Making just his second start since a five-week stint on the disabled list, Harden was sensational on Saturday at Atlanta, yielding just a run on four hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out eight in a 5-4 victory.

Harden’s first two starts of the season came against the Red Sox, one in Japan and one at home. He gave up a combined one run and seven hits on seven walks with 15 strikeouts in 11 innings, winning 5-1 in Japan and getting a no-decision in a 5-0 loss at home. In his two other career appearances against the Sox, Harden got blasted for 15 runs in 7 2/3 innings, losing both games at Fenway Park.

The under is 43-18-5 in Wakefield’s last 66 road starts, 13-3-1 in his last 17 as an underdog, 6-0 in his last six starts in Oakland and 4-1 in Harden’s last five outings at home.

The under also is 6-2-1 in the last nine series meetings between these clubs, 6-1 in the last seven battles in Oakland and 11-5-2 in the A’s last 18 overall. However, the over is 4-1-1 in Boston’s last six on the highway.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON and UNDER

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Friday's Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

After a somewhat abbreviated card Thursday, all 30 teams are back in action Friday. Every game will be under the lights.

In the National League, Atlanta will look to stay hot when it hosts the NL-West leading Diamondbacks, who are hoping to shake off a three-game sweep at Florida. In the AL, Boston heads west to take on the Oakland A’s.

**Diamondbacks at Braves**


--Atlanta (26-21, +113) has won five in a row to improve its home record to 20-5. The Braves are fresh off a dominating four-game sweep of the arch-rival Mets. Not only did Bobby Cox’s team get out the brooms, but it beat up on Willie Randolph’s squad by a combined score of 27-9.

--With the game on the line, Chipper Jones slapped an RBI single to right field to break up a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the seventh. Jones, the career-long Mets killer who improved his majors-leading batting average to .412, delivered the game-winning heroics against Johan Santana. Tim Hudson worked eight strong innings for his seventh win of the season.

--Arizona (28-18, +625) will be glad to get out of Miami, where it took broom treatment against the Marlins. The D-backs lost a 4-0 decision Thursday as minus 135 favorites. Nevertheless, they maintain a 2 ½-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.

--Most books have installed Atlanta as a minus 130 favorites with a total of 10 ‘under’ (minus 120). Gamblers can back the Braves on the run line (minus 1 ½ runs) for a plus 150 return.

--Cox will give the starting nod to LHP Jo-Jo Reyes (2-1, 4.12 ERA), who was rocked for seven hits and seven earned runs in just four innings in his lone career start against the D-backs.

--Doug Davis (1-1, 3.72) will make his first start since April 8. The lefty has been recovering from thyroid cancer surgery. Davis has zero decisions and a 2.84 ERA in three lifetime starts against Atlanta.

--Arizona fell to 11-7 against lefties after losing last night against the Marlins’ Andrew Miller. By beating Santana, the Braves improved to 9-10 versus southpaws.

--Arizona has seen the ‘under’ cash in six consecutive games. However, the ‘over’ is still 27-20 overall for the D-backs, 11-11 in their road outings.

--The ‘under’ is an MLB-best 30-18 overall for Atlanta. The Braves have watched the ‘under’ go 16-12 in their home games.

**Red Sox at A’s**

--Most spots are listing Oakland (25-23, +402) as a minus 120 favorite for the lid-lifter of this three-game series. The A’s are plus 170 on the run line.

--Boston (31-19, +1,030) completed a series sweep of Kansas City on Thursday afternoon, collecting an 11-8 win over the Royals as a minus 200 ‘chalk.’ J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell were the catalysts with one grand slam apiece. It was the first time a pair of Red Sox had hit slams on the same day since 1984.

--Rich Harden (2-0, 2.91) is 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA in four career starts against Boston. With that said, the right-hander has been sharp in two outings against the Red Sox this season, allowing only one earned run in 11 innings. Harden comes into this spot with five days of rest after pitching seven strong innings in Saturday’s win at Atlanta.

--Boston slugger David Ortiz is 5-for-8 (.625) against Harden with a pair of homers. Manny Ramirez is 3-for-8 (.375) off the righty with each hit leaving the yard.

--Tim Wakefield (3-2, 4.33) will get the ball for the Red Sox, who are 10-14 on the road. The 41-year-old knuckleballer is 9-5 with a 4.03 lifetime ERA against Oakland. Wakefield is 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA in five road assignments this year.

--Terry Francona’s team has watched the ‘over’ 26-23 overall, 13-10 in its road games.

--Oakland has been the most consistent ‘under’ team in the AL, watching it hit at a 27-18 overall clip. The A’s have seen the ‘under’ go 13-9 in their home games.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Toronto RHP Roy Halladay is 7-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 12 career starts against Kansas City. The Blue Jays are minus 155 home favorites against the Royals tonight.

--The ‘over’ is an MLB-best 32-18 in Pittsburgh games.

--Tampa Bay RHP owns a 4-0 record and 3.54 ERA in five career starts against tonight’s foe, Baltimore. The Rays are minus 130 home favorites. They are 2 ½ games back of division-leading Boston.

--A pair of southpaws – Barry Zito and Scott Olsen – will oppose each tonight when San Francisco and Florida square off at Dolphin Stadium. The Marlins are 5-5 against lefties, while the Giants are 5-9. Zito is hoping to improve on an 0-8 record and 6.25 ERA.

--The thought of Zito prompts my latest installment of top-five worst MLB acquisitions ever:
1-Ed Whitson (Yankees)
2-Nick Esasky (Braves)
3-Bruce Sutter (Braves)
4-Barry Zito (Giants)
5-Len Barker (Braves)

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Baseball Today

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh (7:05 p.m.) The Cubs have taken eight of nine from Pittsburgh this season, and they send Carlos Zambrano (6-1, 2.45 ERA) to the mound against Zach Duke (2-2, 4.23). Zambrano has five wins and two no-decisions in his last seven starts.

STARS

-Andrew Miller, Marlins, gave up five hits in seven innings of a 4-0 victory over Arizona, completing a three-game sweep. Miller struck out nine with only one walk.

-Tim Hudson, Braves, gave up a pair of homers on consecutive pitches in the second inning, then held the Mets scoreless through the next six innings to help Atlanta finish a four-game sweep with a 4-2 win.

-Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew, Red Sox, connected for grand slams in an 11-8 win over the Royals. Lowell finished 3-for-4 with a double and scored three times. Drew scored twice.

-Matt Joyce, Tigers, doubled and homered in three at-bats, driving in a pair of runs and scoring two more in a 9-2 rout of the Mariners.

-Khalil Greene, Padres, homered twice in an 8-2 victory over Cincinnati.

SWEET SAVE

Brad Lidge returned to Houston and pitched a scoreless ninth inning against his former team to close out Philadelphia's 7-5 victory. Traded by the Astros in the offseason, Lidge looked like his old, overpowering self while improving to 12-for-12 in save chances this year. After hearing an odd mix of boos and cheers when he trotted out from the visitors' bullpen, Lidge retired slugger Lance Berkman on a game-ending popup with a runner on. ``It was a lot of fun for me, a lot of adrenaline,'' Lidge said. ``It's only human nature to want to do good against your old team.''

GRAND TIME IN BOSTON

J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell each hit grand slams against Kansas City, becoming the first Red Sox players to hit grand slams in the same game at Fenway Park since Tony Armas and Bill Buckner did it Aug. 7, 1984. The last time Boston had two slams in a game was when the switch-hitting Bill Mueller hit both - one from each side - at Texas on July 29, 2003.

APPROACHING 600


Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 598th home run, his first in 90 at-bats, in the first inning of Cincinnati's 8-2 loss at San Diego. Griffey is attempting to become the sixth player to reach 600 homers. His last long ball was on April 23 in Cincinnati off Houston's Chris Sampson, and the 90 at-bat homerless drought was the second-longest of his career.

HAMILTON'S HEROICS

Josh Hamilton hit a two-out homer in the 10th inning to lift Texas past the Twins 8-7. Acquired in an offseason trade with Cincinnati, Hamilton matched Chicago's Carlos Quentin for the AL lead with 12 homers. He finished 2-for-4 and moved past Minnesota's Joe Mauer for the best average in the league, .335. Hamilton has 53 RBIs, too, by far the most in the majors.

MATT WHO?

Matt Joyce homered again in the Tigers' romp over Seattle, a two-run shot that gives him five home runs in eight games. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .278 with a slugging percentage of .722 since getting called up from Triple-A Toledo on May 6.

EJECTION, ELATION

Joe Girardi likely won't forget his 100th win as a big league manager. The Yankees skipper, who spent a year with the Marlins, was tossed in the ninth inning in a tie game against Baltimore. He was upset that Jason Giambi was called out on a foul tip, twice throwing down his hat and kicking it once, before kicking the dirt and finishing his rant with another umpire. Girardi had to watch Robinson Cano's winning hit moments later from the clubhouse.

HOUSE OF HORRORS

Mets ace Johan Santana squandered a 2-0 lead while giving up a career-high 12 hits and four runs, three earned, over seven innings in a 4-2 loss at Atlanta. The left-hander lost for the first time since April 12 as New York (22-23) dropped below .500 for the first time since April 13. Atlanta outscored the Mets 27-9 in four games for its 11th sweep of New York at Turner Field, the team's home since 1997. The Braves also improved to 7-2 this season against their NL East rivals, including 6-0 in Atlanta.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

The Angels' Ervin Santana lost for the first time in six road starts this season. He started in place of Joe Saunders, pushed back because of flulike symptoms. Santana started 4-1 with a 3.83 ERA away from home, one year after going 1-10 with an 8.38 ERA on the road.

CLUTCH

Carlos Quentin delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning of the first-place White Sox's 3-1 victory over Cleveland. Quentin is batting .417 with 31 RBIs with runners in scoring position and is tied for the AL lead in homers with 12.

TWO-WAY PLAYER

Randy Wolf yielded two runs and four hits in seven innings of San Diego's 8-2 victory over Cincinnati. The left-hander struck out nine, walked one and added an RBI single.

COMING UP EMPTY


Milwaukee got 14 hits but left a season-high 14 on base during an 8-4 loss at Pittsburgh. The Brewers were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, failing repeatedly to get to Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny (4-4), who won despite giving up eight hits and walking four in five-plus innings.

SPEAKING

``I felt terrible. I mean, I think I know how hard it is to hit a home run in the major leagues. I had trouble sleeping after something like that.'' - Umpire Tim Welke, who ruled a ball hit by Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday night was in play even though replays showed it ricocheted off a cement staircase behind the outfield fence.

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